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spam pingl,

Referral traffic from Pingl is spam

I was checking the analytics on a client site and saw a referral from a website I did not recognise.  And so I investigated it.

referral traffic, analytics referral,

New referral site turns out to be spam

After typing in the reach-publisheral website address manually (I always do this in a new browser window), an automatic redirect came into effect and I ended up on Pingl.net [no, don’t follow that link please].

Black Hat SEO tactics

In the SEO world there are goodies and baddies…. and it’s a game of tension between the unscrupulous on one side and those who follow search engine websites’ guidelines on the other – refereed by Google and Bing.

Black Hat is the term given to tactics that are underhand and try to cheat the system.

White Hat is the opposite – those who work within the framework set by search engines.

Updates to search engine algorithms are usually driven by their desire to undermine black hat tactics.

After a quick search I found several other commentators had found referrals in their analytics also coming from Pingl.  This rings alarm bells.

Who is Pingl?

A set of clever Black-Hatters masquerading as authentic “growth hacking” tacticians.

They use a technique called notification referrer service which is basically a spam referral to your website.  By masking their site identity they make the link “appear” to come from another site – reach-publishinglo  in my case (but others report variants on Ali Baba).  This domain is setup with the sole purpose of sending you to pingl’s home page –  it refers you directly to them.

Although you may be getting a lot of referrals from the masked page, it is not real traffic, and it can ruin your SEO – notably your bounce rate.

How to overcome referrer spam

Create filters in your Analytics to remove this traffic from your results in two ways

  1. Campaign Source Filter – will stop all traffic from the source (pingl) site
  2. Campaign Referral Path Filter – will stop single web pages
  3. Languages Setting Filter – stops traffic from named languages (was useful for Russian spam in 2017)
Marketing analysis (Business vector designed by Freepik)

Getting insight from your Marketing Analysis

Data is worthless unless it has meaning. Today’s marketer has access to more data than ever.

Finally we stand a chance of overcoming the traditional hostility to marketing as being 50% wasted spend because digital is wholly trackable and spend ROI can be calculated. And yet now, when all this is within our grasp, marketers fail to transition because they don’t understand data. They don’t like data, marketing doesn’t recruit numerate graduates and so the “fluffy” attitude to our discipline continues.

This annoys the hell out of me. It is not difficult and so I make analytics required task for all the interns, graduates and new staffers joining our team.

So what numbers should a business owner and a marketer look for and how to interpret them?

Analytics is free

Google has a comprehensive analytics package called Google Analytics (GA) which is freely available and you should install it on your website. You can ask your developer to install the code in your website or use plugins such as the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights (formerly known as Google Analytics by Yoast). There are more sophisticated packages, but start your pathway to analysis glory with the workhorse of the industry.

One of the best things about GA is that many marketing software applications integrate with it – so if you use marketing automation with Campaign Monitor or MailChimp or InfusionSoft then once it’s set up everything gets tracked with no further effort on your part.

Finding your space online

Google Analytics referralsMost businesses understand how to find and occupy a niche online – the keywords and search phrases which you want to get found for and the competing websites and brands for your business.

And so your content marketing will be resonating with others who share your niche.

The bit of analytics I love most is the incoming referrals data.

I was with a client who sells paleo food products through an online store. They had never, ever looked at their analytics account. Ever. So we took a look and found they had incoming links from powerful bloggers who had the potential to resell their products. Double Whammy – a strong incoming link sending traffic to the site plus a potential new distributor. Two easy actions for them to improve business revenues. And all it took was a look into GA.

Referrals Data Analysis

Google Analytics destination pageSo let’s go on a little journey inside Google Analytics – first looking at the Acquisition tab and then below, the Referrals sub-category. Ooh, I love this part…. look at all the websites where people have followed a link into your website…. but there’s more. Now find the pages they linked to by adding to the data display. Go to the top of the referrals page and look for this button, click on Secondary Dimension and below on the menu that appears expand the menu below “Behaviour” and click on Destination Page. Now you can see all the visitors from different sites sorted by the page they came to.

Does this help?

Oh boy yes. Now I know which content is engaging to readers, which source websites are sending me traffic and in what volumes to which pages…. I can find pages where the content gets visited regularly all the time, I can find blog posts that get very little or a large amount. This allows us to adjust what we write, which keywords, which audiences and where to share the content.

Things that you can do to improve incoming links.

If there are a range of companies sending traffic to your homepage, consider creating a landing page just for them. We have several on our website – take a look at this https://creativeagencysecrets.com/yellow/ Yes we wrote a page just for visitors from our Yellow Pages listing. It contains information that will help shortcut their journey through the site to finding what they want, fast.

You can do this too

Google Analytics queriesOther small tasks worth paying someone to do (if you don’t know how) is integrating Google Search Console with GA so you can see the Queries your website shows up for and how many click-throughs you get and what your average display rank is (page one or page 21?). So helpful.

And if you use Google AdWords – your reporting from the agency who does the work for you should include as a minimum the following data points.

• Number of leads
• Cost per lead
• Top Adverts
• Number of impressions
• Which keywords are sending traffic
• Search query

This last, search query, is really important because it shows what the potential customer typed into the search engine…. and that’s gold as far as on-site SEO goes. Same as the Queries inside GA.

There is core data which as the advertiser you need and as the marketers, we need, in order to focus our efforts appropriately.

So let’s get started as confident analytics users whose marketing delivers return on investment.

Teach yourself, get tutored or go on a course. Doesn’t matter how, just get on and do this one thing.

How to use Google My Business to improve SEO

How to use Google My Business to improve SEO

It’s frustrating when you search for a business and get the wrong answer.  Did you know that you can edit how your business listing is displayed in Google search results?  It’s called Google My Business.

This short slide deck shows what you can do in the tool and then how to use it to improve how your business is listed.

Entrepreneurs digital marketing extra content

Huge thanks to Amaka Gessler for inviting me to the Entrepreneur Networking with a Twist Meetup last night.  I promised to share my slides and have also pulled together a listof all the other material I shared.  Here’s Amaka’s notes from the talk.

Rebecca Caroe Speech Slides

As promised, here are my slides and links to additional material we discussed on the night.

Digital tools for marketers

Machine reading testers for your keywords
Facebook comment integration – Facebook Developers comments plugin
NextScripts SNAP WordPress Plugin  allows automation for sharing and distribution
FeedBlitz.com is the RSS to email service I use to automate the blog posts into newsletters. Get in touch if you want a FeedBlitz Discount Code
Unroll me is the email app that allows you to see all your subscribed newsletters and RSS feeds in one place and also mass unsubscribe.

Expert Digital Marketing Bloggers who will upskill you

Expert media analysis and commentary from Thomas Baekdal – there are free and paid for articles – it’s worth the annual fee to subscribe.  E.g. Why print rarely translates to digit.
Avinask Kaushik’s blog Occams Razor is all about Google analytics I recommend you subscribe to get it by email – and his book Web Analytics 2.0 – buy a copy.
You must learn how to use Google Analytics skilfully.
We discussed how to track website visitors’ flow through your site and also how to find out the click stream that led them to your site.  Here’s how to uncover more insight.
Google Analytics visitor flow
  • sidebar menu: Behavior: Behavior Flow
Also look at Multi Channel Funnels (MCF) and the different steps people take before they convert on your website.
  • sidebar menu: Conversions: Multi-Channel Funnels: Top Conversion Paths – see attached
Behavior Flow in Google Analytics

Behavior Flow in Google Analytics

Top Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

Top Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

Google Analytics Logo

Google Analytics Keyword Workaround

Google Analytics Workaround Keyword MenuWith more people opting for anonymous website browsing it is becoming increasingly harder to see how users find your site – in particular, which keywords they searched with.

Inside your Google Analytics you can see which search terms prospects are using to find your website by going to Acquisition -> Keywords -> Organic in the left sidebar menu.

With the rise of anonymous browsing, Google Analytics can no longer provide useful and therefore accurate keyword search data. You’ll more than likely see the majority of your keyword searches is “(Not provided)”.

This situation is getting worse month by month as we track the analytics for our website.

By following these steps, we can show you a workaround which will remove the dreaded “Not Provided” data and give you greater insight into how visitors are finding your site. Best of all, this workaround will also show you what keyword searches you are appearing in but not getting traffic from.

Google Analytics Keyword List

The Workaround For Keyword Searches

Although not a perfect replacement, Creative Agency Secrets has found a work-around which can give you a good indication of what search words and phrases your website is showing up for and which are drawing visitors.

It involves Google Webmaster Tools – You have to set this up for your website if you haven’t already.

Set up and Verify yourself and your website in Webmaster Tools – generally the easiest way is to do this with your analytics account. If this fails, Google helpfully provide short how-to’s on the other methods of verification.

Remember your site must be using the asynchronous tracking code.

Google Webmaster Tools Verification

Select the Google Analytics radio button (which can be found under the “Alternate methods” tab) and click Verify.

Now navigate to Search Traffic in the sidebar menu and select Search Queries.

Scroll down below the graph you will see a list of Queries used and the Impressions.  The main benefit of this data is you can see the Average Position your site has in search listings for each one (far right column).

We are going to show you how to send this data to your Google Analytics account but it’s worth noting that there is more accuracy in this screen as Google Analytics rounds the numbers.

Google Webmaster Tools Keywords List

Link Google Analytics To Webmaster Tools

Now re-open Google Analytics and browse to your website dashboard.

In the side menu go to Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries.  You will get a message advising you to enable Webmaster Tools (see screenshot below).

Set Up Google Webmaster Tools

Click the button to Set up Webmaster Tools Data sharing at the top of the page.

Leave all the settings it displays as default although you can change the fields if some are incorrect e.g. Industry Category.  At the bottom of the page the sub-heading Webmaster Tools Settings click the Edit hyperlink.

Google Webmaster Tools Data Sharing Set Up

This will bring up a list of site(s) and associated Analytics web properties.  Choose your site on the left radio button and Save.

Click OK to Add association in the next window.

Select Site To Add Link Webmaster Tools

View The Data

You’ll be directed to the Admin screen. Click Reporting in the top menu to return to GA and again go to Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries.

You should now see a summary graph and below it the list of keyword queries , impressions, clicks and average position of your website.

For everyday use, we find the Google Analytics summary data is fine.  But for non-rounded data, go into the Google Webmaster Tools display to get the full picture.

Note that data is normally 2 days behind on these searches compared to other metrics in Google Analytics.